Two recent SC&I alumnae, Maria Pereira Colish, a School Library Media Specialist, and Erica Saito, a Library and Information Specialist, were selected as 2020 ALA Emerging Leaders by the American Library Association. Colish and Saito earned Master of Information degrees in 2019.
Colish is a School Library Media Specialist at Linden Public Schools, Number 2 and Number 4, in Linden, N.J., and was sponsored by the New Jersey Association of School Librarians (NJASL). Saito, a Library and Information Specialist at the International Food Policy Research Institute, was sponsored by International Relations Round Table (IRRT). Sponsors commit to financially supporting the Emerging Leaders, “to help defray costs of attending the ALA Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference,” according to the ALA.
“I was extremely blessed in 2019,” Saito said. “I graduated, I got a new job, and now I just heard the news about the ALA Emerging Leaders Program. ALA is recognized internationally among the library community and I never imagined that I could achieve such honor far from my home country Brazil.”
Regarding the benefits of her SC&I degree, the opportunity to serve as an Emerging Leader, and the work her team will do, Colish said, "I was encouraged by SC&I alumna Beth Raff '19, School Librarian at Mt. Tabor Elementary in the Parsippany Troy Hills school district of N.J. (Dec 2019) and former 2019 Emerging Leader to accept the nomination and pursue the rewarding experience as 2020 Emerging Leader. I am very thankful for the opportunities that have opened up with my degree and studies from Rutgers. So far it has been wonderful meeting with other information specialists from across the country. My team is working on providing resources and guest speakers for professional development on the issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion. As a team, we are eager to present our resources at the June Annual ALA Conference in Chicago."
The Emerging Leaders Program. according to the ALA website, “ is a leadership development program which enables newer library workers from across the country to participate in problem-solving work groups, network with peers, gain an inside look into ALA structure, and have an opportunity to serve the profession in a leadership capacity. It puts participants on the fast track to ALA committee volunteerism as well as other professional library-related organizations.”
This year’s Emerging Leaders program launched at the ALA Midwinter Meeting, which was held from January 24 – 28, 2020 in Philadelphia and was well-attended by SC&I students, alumni, staff, and faculty.
According to ALA, after the initial launch, the Emerging leaders Program “grows and develops in an online learning and networking environment for six months. The program culminates with a poster session presentation to display the results of the project planning work of each group at the ALA Annual Conference and Exhibition.” This year, the conference will be held in Chicago from June 25-30, 2020.
SC&I’s MI program prepared her for her current role as a Library and Information Specialist, Saito said, “because “503 helped me to build my eportfolio and it was useful during job hunting. I also took advantage of the Career Services to review my resume, prepare me for interviews and boosted my confidence. Currently, I am cataloging a lot, so classes such as "Metadata for information professionals" were extremely helpful.”
Saito said she decided to pursue her MI at SC&I after she met SC&I alumna and Rutgers’ Kayo Denda, ’97, at a conference. Denda is Head of the Margery Somers Foster Center and Librarian for Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and she is a member of the Library Faculty at New Brunswick Libraries.
Denda “told me about the Rutgers program,” Saito said. “She is an excellent professional and definitely inspired me to purse my MI at SC&I.”